Political Science

The Department of Political Science at Kent State University offers a four-year program in political science leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree. Qualified undergraduate students can also pursue graduate programs leading to the Master of Arts and Master of Public Administration while completing their Bachelor of Arts.

Program Requirements

All students pursuing bachelor’s degrees at Kent State must select courses from the Kent Core, a series of liberal education requirements. Political science majors take courses in the areas of English composition, mathematics and critical reasoning, foreign language, humanities, fine arts, social sciences and basic sciences.

The political science major consists of 36 semester hours of study. Students must take the following lower-division courses:

  • American Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • Political Economy
  • Political Methods
  • Political Thought
  • Public Policy
  • World Politics

Students must take five additional upper-division courses in political science, including a writing-intensive Seminar in Political Science. Upper-division work is concentrated in one of four submajor areas:

  • American Politics
  • International Relations/Comparative Politics
  • Public Policy
  • General

Special Departmental Programs

Columbus Program in Intergovernmental Issues

Each fall, the Department of Political Science and the Alumni Office sponsor the Columbus Program in Intergovernmental Issues. Qualified Kent State University juniors and seniors spend the fall semester in Columbus, Ohio, where they participate in internships, attend briefings by state and local political leaders and do research on public policy issues. Students earn up to 15 hours during the semester.

Washington Program in National Issues

Each spring, the Department of Political Science and the Alumni Office sponsor the Washington Program in National Issues. Qualified Kent State University juniors or seniors spend the spring semester in Washington, D.C., where they participate in an internship, as well as attend numerous briefings and engage in individualized research. Students earn up to 16 hours during the semester.

Scholarship and Award Opportunities

John Logue OEOC Memorial Scholarship

The John Logue Memorial Employee Ownership Scholarship Fund was created to memorialize the work of Professor Logue in promoting economic democracy and to make higher education more accessible for Kent State undergraduates. The fund awards at least $1,000 to Kent State undergraduates each year to support a summer internship or contribute to tuition.

Davey Scholarship

The Davey Scholarship, a part of the Kent State University Founders Program, provides a four-year scholarship of nearly $10,000 to an incoming high school student who attends Kent State to major in political science.

Dubetz Scholarship

The DuBetz Scholarship is offered annually to an outstanding senior student majoring in political science. Special scholarships are available for the Columbus and Washington programs.


Christopher Banks, Associate Professor, J.D., University of Dayton, 1984, Ph.D. University of Virginia, 1995. Teaching interests: constitutional law, judicial process. Research interests: judicial policy-making and behavior.

Andrew Barnes, Associate Professor, Ph.D., Princeton University, 1998. Teaching interests: comparative politics, Russian and Eastern European politics, international political economics. Research interests: the economics of transition in Russia and Eastern Europe, comparative political economics.

Steven Brown, Professor, Ph.D., University of Missouri, 1968. Teaching interests: statistics, empirical theory, political psychology. Research interests: personality, subjectivity, literature, decision making, policy science, methodology.

Mark Cassell, Associate Professor, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1998. Teaching interests: public policy/public administration, political economy, Western European politics. Research interests: privatization of public services, government reforms in the United States and abroad.

Ryan Claassen, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., University of California, Davis, 2005. Teaching interests: quantitative research methods, political behavior, racial and ethnic politics, basic survey courses on American politics. Research interests: political engagement.

Karen Davis Cunningham, Assistant Professor, J.D., Washington and Lee University, 1986. Teaching interests: conflict management, nonviolent social change. Research interests: workplace conflict and organizational culture, interactionable justice, effective change strategies.

Joseph Drew, Associate Professor, Ph.D., Wayne State University, 1982. Teaching interests: public administration, healthcare administration. Research interests: effectiveness of policy delivery.

Michael J. Ensley, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., Duke University, 2002. Teaching interests: American politics, the U.S. Congress, the presidency and research methods. Research interests: elections and voting, representation and the policy process in the U.S. Congress, the role of political parties, influence of business on public policy and statistics.

Landon E. Hancock, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., George Mason University, 2003. Teaching interests: conflict analysis and resolution, research methods. Research interests: ethnic and racial conflict, identity and conflict, peacekeeping and peace processes.

Daniel Hawes, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., Texas A & M University, 2008. Teaching interests: research methods, public administration and public policy. Research interests: the interaction between political and bureaucratic institutions that spans public administration, public policy and political science, and the role public management plays in influencing policy outcomes.

Steven Hook, Professor, Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 1992. Teaching interests: international relations, foreign policy. Research interests: comparative foreign policies, international organizations.

John Hoornbeek, Director of the Center for Public Administration and Public Policy (CPAPP), Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, 2004. Teaching interests: American political institutions, public policy and state-local politics, Federalism and intergovernmental relations.

Renee J. Johnson, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., Stony Brook University, 1997. Teaching interests: public policy, political economy, bureaucracy. Research interests: state welfare policy, governmental regulation of business, bureaucratic responsiveness.

Aroon Manoharan, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., Rutgers University-Newark, 2009. Teaching interests: E-governance, public administration, research methods, organization theory. Research interests: E-governance, performance management, comparative administration.

Jennifer Maxwell, Associate Professor, Ph.D., Syracuse University, 1985. Teaching interests: conflict management, strategic planning, organization change. Research interests: conflict management and mediation, organizational conflict, community and educational policy-making.

Julie Mazzei, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., American University, 2006. Research interests: nontraditional political actors and political violence, particularly in Latin America. Teaching interests: comparative politics, particularly in the areas of human rights and lesser-developed countries.

Rick Robyn, Assistant Professor and Director, Washington Program in National Issues, Ph.D., Kent State University, 2000. Teaching interests: American politics, international organization and law. Research interests: public memorializing, Thomas Paine, European national identity.

Joshua Stacher, Assistant Professor, Ph.D., University of St. Andrews, 2007. Teaching interests: authoritarian adaptation of Arab republican regimes with special reference to Egypt and Syria. He also has published on topics such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Wasat movement, opposition politics and presidential elections in authoritarian contexts and human rights in Egypt.

Vernon Sykes, Assistant Professor and Director, Columbus Program in Intergovernmental Issues, Ph.D., University of Akron, 2001. Teaching interests: public administration, state and local government.

Thom Yantek, Associate Professor, Ph.D., SUNY-Stony Brook, 1982. Teaching interests: American government, mass media, business and economics. Research interests: government policies toward business, voter responses to economic policies and conditions.